Professional-Grade Hair Dryers Worth the Splurge
The key to a salon-worthy blowout—sans damage—is your hair dryer. You can’t get sleek, bouncy, frizz-free locks without a good one!
First, to dispel a myth: a little bit of heat isn’t inherently bad for your hair, it’s the dwelling too long in one particular spot that does the damage, as does pulling too hard with a hairbrush. With the right dryer, you can use a high-powered tool on a medium heat and get the job done just fine. Professional-grade dryers have more gusto than your typical drugstore buy, meaning you’ll spend less time drying for a better result with less harm done. Shell out now for a high-quality model and you’ll be paid back in dividends with a healthier mane.
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Different styles need different settings, so pick a dryer with multiple heat options—including a cold shot, to lock in your look and add shine at the end—and speeds (for quick, regular and gentle drying). And keep in mind that blow-drying is hard work—look for a lightweight model to keep your wrists from getting tired.
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Hair tools are made with different materials, so it’s important to understand your hair type and goals before investing. Ceramic disperses heat evenly, so it’s perfect for damaged or fine hair. Titanium heats strands faster, making it too much for sensitive locks and best for thicker strands. Tourmaline, a semi-precious gem, adds moisture and shine but works best on coarse hair.
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OK, ions: what do they do? Ionic appliances transfer negative ions to the hair and attract the positive ones in water to help dry hair faster at a lower temp (so with less damage and frizz). If your problem is limp locks (as opposed to frizz), you may want to steer clear of ionic tech. Some models allow you to toggle between ionic heat for sleek styles and non-ionic heat for volume. And keep in mind: ionic heat isn’t just for straight strands—it can also create soft, smooth curls if used with a round brush.
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The biggest differences between an affordable pro dryer and the more extravagant models are life expectancy—the ones that cost a mint will last longer—and noise. The pricey picks are often whisper-quiet, but if you’re not particularly sensitive to sound (and you’re hesitant to drop hundreds on a hair tool) give a less expensive dryer a shot!
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